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By ATWadmin On July 1st, 2008 at 9:39 pm

This seems to happening across quite a few countries on both sides of the Atlantic- property prices are on the slide! Here in Northern Ireland’s beleaguered property market another significant low has occurred after new figures showed house prices dropped by almost a fifth in just one year! Today’s Nationwide House Price Survey showed Northern Ireland had the slowest annual house price growth in the UK — down by 18.6% in the second quarter of 2008.  According to its findings, the average house price in the province is now £183,476.

Let me tell you that is still WAY too high and I confidently predict continued decline.

It seems to me that an unholy cabal of property developers, estate agents, media barons and greedy house owners have been caught out believing their own hype. I was looking at a nice penthouse apartment a week or so ago in a far from ideal location and offers in excess of 400k were sought. No chance. This market is going to be forced down a lot further and anyone who bought property in 2007 must be staring into the unwelcome jaws of negative equity. They say you cannot go wrong with bricks and mortar but it may be some years before prices get back to 2006 levels. In the meantime…fasten your seatbelts….


By ATWadmin On July 1st, 2008 at 6:30 pm

I was reading that Stormont Health committee chair Iris Robinson last night accused her political rivals of twisting her comments on homosexuality and denied she believed it was a mental disorder. The DUP Strangford MP reiterated her claim that she considered gay sex a sin and an abomination but said it was not her opinion that it was a mental health issue.

Two points here.

1. Iris is rapidly becoming an abomination on this. Regular readers know my views on homosexuality BUT Iris is showing a lack of common humanity on this and is NOT in a position to judge what is sinful. God does that – though given her years alongside Paisley perhaps she thinks she has a direct line? I’m getting sick of pious Iris.

2. I wonder could there be another reason for Mrs Robinson’s dramatic outbursts against gays? I suppose we will never know. 


By ATWadmin On July 1st, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Th American Presidential Election is in the summer doldrums at the moment.  Both parties are reconciling themselves to their candidate and probably experiencing a little buyer’s remorse, and getting ready for the big push of the conventions which serve as the formal annointing of the chosen candidate.

Senator Obama took some hits this week over former General Wesley Clark who made some snide comments about Senator McCain’s military service.  Clark is a has been who never was as a polticial force, and seems intent on displaying his tone deafness at any given opportunity.  Attacking McCain’s service record is really the province of the fantatic right, and has as much chance of success as a Drive-Thru Burger Joint in New Dehli.  It actually gave McCain a chance to replay his service record.   Memo to Obama and surrogates, if you attack a guy’s strongest point, you gotta land a punch.  otherwisse, concede the point and move on.

Unsatisfied with playing only to his opponent’s strong point, Obama sought to gloss over own his weakness with a pitch to the Evangelicals.  He announced plans to expand President Bush’s program of investing federal money in religious-based initiatives.  He seeks to get religious charities more involved in government programs.  Gosh, would that mean giving them money?  Sounds like a payout to ease tensions over Rev. Wright, his advocacy of same-sex marriages and a tolerance of abortion almost bordering on promotion.   His plan – $500 million for 1 million children.  Heck if you say children enough times people might think you care, and of course round numbers never hurt.  Of course how 5 bucks a kid works out to anything of substance is just an annoying detail.  But it sounds so damn nice I am sure Oprah will love it.

Does it end there?  No, McCain somehow got Billy Graham to pose for a photo with him.  I honestly thought Graham had died before I saw the photograph and was reminded he is still with us.  Graham’s the evangelical’s evangelical, and doesn’t give off the queasy vibe one associates with the Pat Robertson’s and Jerry Falwell’s.  But for God sakes did they have to get the poor guy out of bed for a photo opportunity?  I suppose at least it gives McCain the rare opportunity to sit next to someone older.  In any event, expect more silliness to follow.          


By ATWadmin On July 1st, 2008 at 4:04 pm

Hey, did THAT get your attention? Now I am not trying to be offensive but I was amazed to read that "F*** off" is an acceptable answer that earned one student two points on his English exam for accurate spelling and properly conveying meaning. Students are receiving credit for foul language on the British General Certificate of Education. In some cases, the foul answers have little to do with the question!!

The boy’s test was graded by chief examiner Peter Buckroyd who teaches other examiners to grade using the same standard. Buckroyd gave graders strict instructions to adhere to his scoring guidelines, even giving credit to students who wrote only foul words on their tests. According to the report, Buckroyd said he awarded two points, out of a possible 27, to the boy who scribbled the F-word into a test blank in response to the statement, "Describe the room you’re sitting in."

And they say that Education has been dumbed down?

Why anyone that suggests that should go and  – well, you finish the line…!!


By ATWadmin On July 1st, 2008 at 3:46 pm

It’s time Islamists got up off their prayer mats and apologised to us all for their serial lack of tolerance! Take the news that a  postcard featuring a cute puppy sitting in a policeman’s hat advertising a Scottish police force’s new telephone number has sparked outrage from Muslims. Tayside Police’s new non-emergency phone number has prompted complaints from members of the Islamic community. The choice of image on the Tayside Police cards – a black dog sitting in a police officer’s hat – has now been raised with Chief Constable John Vine.

article-1030798-01CF01ED00000578-898_468x338.jpgSo, what was the problem for our Islamic friends? Well, the advert has upset Muslims because dogs are considered ritually unclean and has sparked such anger that some shopkeepers in Dundee have refused to display the advert. Dundee councillor Mohammed Asif (Great Scottish name there)said: ‘My concern was that it’s not welcomed by all communities, with the dog on the cards. ‘It was probably a waste of resources going to these communities. They (the police) should have understood. Since then, the police have explained that it was an oversight on their part, and that if they’d seen it was going to cause upset they wouldn’t have done it.’ 

Gulp – has anyone mentioned Crufts to them?


By ATWadmin On July 1st, 2008 at 3:40 pm

I think we should listen carefully to Robert Mugabe. I mean he HAS been elected to his position, the people have spoken (well, squeaked in a fearful manner, I guess) and it’s time we paid attention to the great man, this African lion. So when one of his close advisers tell us to "Go Hang" we should. Hang him. Mugabe has no interest in democracy and sadly for his poor people he happens to be on the right continent to get away with this. It’s good to see some African leaders stirring against him but too many secretly admire the strong-man approach. Execution would be best for Mugabe – surely that’s black and white?


By ATWadmin On July 1st, 2008 at 2:49 pm

Right then – the clouds have lifted. (Ironically as the skies here have darkened)

I have been a bit down in recent days – mostly personal. I have been involved in having my mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, moved to a new Care Home. These things are not easy and tend to blacken one’s humour, hence the lack of posts and comment. Anyway, things are sorted out as much as they can be, and I know other people have much more grievous burdens to carry than mine but I wanted to thank those of you who have been in contact. Thing is that what happens to us in our private life does colour political views, or even the WILL to comment on them! Like everyone else, I am susceptible to blacker moments and thank you for your kindness.

On the blog, I decided to open up comments again  – the registration has wiped out trolls but it is also killing spontaneity and I want to keep the liveliness thing going. I’ll review it as things develop. I have also decided to remove from the blog roll those writers who have not produced a post in over three months. We either go forward or back – no standing still.

I’m going to shake things up a little..this tangled web needs spinning faster.


By ATWadmin On July 1st, 2008 at 12:50 am

The good thing you can say about the Chinese Government is that at least they aren’t Islamic fanatics.  After that, it gets a little dicey.

The Olympics will of course showcase modern China, with all dissidents and other undesirables placed beyond the reach of the World media.  We’ll get cute little children, that high pitched music and propoganda displays that would make Mao proud.  I am sure their will be sojourns to The Great Wall and other cultural sites.  I expect little mention to the Chinese hosts of Tibet or Tiananmen Square.  We are a bit screwed anyway as they hold a nice marker on our currency.  

A fascinating issue for those in the World who love China anyway is to watch how they’ve shapped the Mugabe agenda in the U.N.  They gutted any action the UN would take, even to the point of watering down its customary inaction.  The old African song The Lion Sleeps Tonight may still hold true, but the Sleeping Tiger of Asia is awake and on the prowl.        


By ATWadmin On June 30th, 2008 at 9:14 pm

Signal fading, listen to what I’m saying.
Testing, testing,
this better be worth all of the breath I’m wasting.
Maintaining radio silence from now on.

From a distance it’s hard to tell the difference
Between a king and a jack
Between a poet and a hack
Maintaining radio silence from now on.

Legal Gun Ownership = Less Homicide

By ATWadmin On June 30th, 2008 at 8:18 pm

Don’t believe me. Believe Gary Kleck, one of the nation’s leading gun scholars: legal gun ownership lowers the homicide rate.

“Kleck says his latest research indicates that when gun ownership rises among noncriminals, homicide rates decline. When gun ownership among criminals rises, there is no clear effect on homicide rates. Getting rid of the D.C. law, of course, should have no effect on criminals, since they don’t get their guns legally anway. It will only make it easier for law-abiding residents to own and use firearms.”